Indiana Pacers All-Star center Domantas Sabonis will leave the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, the team announced on Friday.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Sabonis left to seek treatment from a specialist for a “significant” foot ailment.
Ethan Sears of the Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday that Sabonis had been out for several days after his plantar fasciitis flared up. At the time, Sabonis said: “With this kind of injury, you can’t really circle [a date]. Every person is different how long it heals, how long it doesn’t. We’re just trying to do the best we can with everything we have here.”
The 24-year-old Sabonis was a key player for the Pacers prior to the suspension of the season in March due to the coronavirus. Sabonis was averaging career highs with 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game and was named an All-Star for the first time.
With Sabonis leading the team in rebounding and ranking second in both scoring and assists, the Pacers were fifth in the Eastern Conference at 39-26.
The potential loss of Sabonis looms large, especially since it remains unclear if star guard Victor Oladipo will play during the restart. Oladipo initially ruled himself out in favor of resting a knee injury that cost him a year of action, but he participated in the team’s scrimmage Thursday and hasn’t made a final decision on his status.
If Sabonis misses time, then even more pressure will be placed on the shoulders of center Myles Turner to be the Pacers’ primary option both offensively and defensively on the interior.
Turner is averaging 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game this season.
Head coach Nate McMillan could also opt to go small with wings such as T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday being the second “big” on the floor at times alongside Turner.
Indiana is severely lacking when it comes to interior depth, especially since rookie center Goga Bitadze is nursing a knee injury.
The Pacers are scheduled to resume regular-season play Aug. 1 when they face the Philadelphia 76ers.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report